Brewster, Gurdon 1937–
Brewster, Gurdon 1937–
Born 1937; married Martha Anne Klippert (a teacher and marriage and family therapist), 1962; children: four. Education: Attended Haverford College; Union Theological Seminary, M.Div., 1962, S.T.M., 1971. Religion: Episcopalian.
Home and office—Newfield, NY. E-mail—[email protected]
Priest and sculptor. Ordained Episcopalian priest, 1962; Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, GA, assistant minister, 1961 and 1966; Madras Christian College, Madras, India, instructor in American history, director of student volunteer program, and founder of art department, 1962-64; Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, assistant to chaplain, 1965-69, Episcopalian chaplain, 1969-99. Founded Stuart Little Cooperative. Exhibitions: Solo exhibitions include State of the Art Gallery, Ithaca, NY, 2001 and 2004.
No Turning Back: My Summer with Daddy King (memoir), Orbis Books (Maryknoll, NY), 2007.
While attending Union Theological Seminary in New York in 1961, Gurdon Brewster volunteered to participate in a summer program in which white Episcopalians would work in southern black churches. He chose Ebenezer Baptist Church, the Atlanta, Georgia, home of ministers Martin Luther King, Sr., and Martin Luther King, Jr., and he recounts this life-changing experience in his book, No Turning Back: My Summer with Daddy King. As Greg Trotter wrote in a Dallas News Online report, "The book offers an intimate look at the King family in that turbulent time and reveals the inner conflicts of Mr. Brewster."
Because none of the other families in the Ebenezer congregation offered to house him, Brewster lived with the senior King for the summer, developing a close relationship with him and learning much about his theological and social views. He experienced firsthand the realities of segregation and discrimination as well as the vitality of the black church, and he came to reexamine his own faith and social position in light of his experiences. Karl Helicher, reviewing No Turning Back in Library Journal, called Brewster's account "affecting" and "uplifting" and judged the author's stories about discussions with King "most engaging." Other writers similarly welcomed the glimpse into the life of "Daddy" King, whose contributions to the civil rights movement have often been overshadowed by his son's. A Publishers Weekly critic called the book "moving" but gave a mixed opinion of Brewster's prose—the writer praised "vivid and energetic" descriptions but also noted occasional cliches. The reviewer nonetheless summarized the memoir as "engaging and inspiring."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Library Journal, October 1, 2007, Karl Helicher, review of No Turning Back: My Summer with Daddy King, p. 80.
Publishers Weekly, July 9, 2007, review of No Turning Back, p. 49.
Sojourners, March, 2008, Jason Byassee, "A Beloved Community."
Topeka Capital-Journal, January 19, 2008, Phil Anderson, "Priest Shares Time with Kings."
Dallas News Online,http://wwwdallasnews.com/ (January 19, 2008), Greg Trotter, "Book Details How Father's Fight for Justice Shaped MLK."
Gurdon Brewster Home Page,http://www.gurdonbrewster.com/ (June, 2008).
Story,http://www.thestory.org/ (January 21, 2008), Dick Gordon, "A Summer with the King Family."